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Improving Student Attitudes about Learning Science and Student Scientific Reasoning Skills
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Figure 1.

The first “science vs pseudoscience” assignment was given out in the first week of class.

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Figure 2.

Six EBAPS questions solicited differences in student responses from the Control Class and the Test Class that were statistically significant. Test class: green circles; control class: red squares.

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Figure 3.

(a) Test Class and (b) Control Class responses to the EBAPS question, “When it comes to science, students either learn quickly, or not at all.” On the x-axis, 2 represents “strongly disagree,” 1 represents “disagree,” 0 is neutral, −1 “agree,” and −2 “strongly agree.”

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Figure 4.

Students in the first week of astronomy instruction (“No astronomy studied”) misunderstand the use of the word “theory” when speaking of scientific theories.


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Table 1.

Percentage responses of the actual data shown in Figure 3, along with expected values if both were drawn from the same population.

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Table 2.

Number of students in the control and test classes associated with each type of response. The type of response represents a category of student responses, not the actual students’ wording. Table represents data derived from a subset of 116 students from both the Control and Test classes.


Student attitudes about learningscience and student ideas about the nature of science were compared at the end of two astronomy courses taught in Fall 2007, a course with a traditional astronomy curriculum and a transformed course, whose traditional astronomy curriculum was supplemented by an embedded curriculum that explicitly addressed the nature of science and student metacognition (i.e., thinking about one’s own thinking.) The embedded curriculum in the transformed course gave students practice at evaluating examples of valid science and pseudoscience found on the internet; it also provided students opportunities to discuss what they think about learningscience. Student attitudes and ideas were assessed using the epistemological beliefs assessment for physical science (EBAPS) survey, interviews, and written responses to an open-ended exam question. Our results indicate that the embedded curriculum led the majority of students in the transformed course to think that anyone can learn science, whereas a majority of students in the traditional course thought that only individuals with innate abilities can learn science and think scientifically. Students in the transformed course also reported much more confidence in their ability to evaluate the scientific validity of information found on the internet. Furthermore, students from the transformed course valued making sense of science more than students from the traditional course. The embedded curriculum could readily be used in any course for nonscience majors, not just introductory astronomy.


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752b84549af89a08dbdd7fdb8b9568b5 journal.articlezxybnytfddd
Scitation: Improving Student Attitudes about Learning Science and Student Scientific Reasoning Skills